Telecommunications: Entry-Level Phone Service

Entry-Level Phone Service

In northwest Mexico without your own phone? No problem. "Virtual telephone service" to the rescue. Come spring you can get your own number and confidential voice mailbox and, by calling from any public phone, retrieve messages left by other callers. The Trilogue system, patented by Comverse Technology of Woodbury, N.Y., provides instant hookup in areas where expensive phone installation may take months, even years. "I call it entry-level service," says Comverse spokesman Paul Baker. "We're bringing the modern telephone to the grass roots."

The novel contract with Mexico's Telmex phone company calls for 1,000 electronic mailboxes in each of three cities:...